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  • I've always liked Ken Loach's films, but this one is special. Set realistically in Glasgow, it could be set in virtually any major city in the UK with only minor tweaks (kilts apart). As with most of Ken's work, it's essentially about the infinite redeem-ability of the human spirit, given half a chance.

    Comparisons are being made to the Full Monty, but I don't quite see that. If anything, it's a far better Trainspotting, with jokes to replace the parts you hardly want to watch. It's hilariously funny and if you don't blurt out at least one guffaw during the film, you are dead from the neck up. At the same time it is not a "feelgood" movie as such, because it faces the stark realities of the situation of the main character head on. Their lot is fairly hopeless and unlikely to get much better.

    Inevitably in a film designed to fit within the constraints of the medium, it compresses far more than is sensible. More development of the way Robbie comes to understand his options would have been better, as would his growing relationship with Big Harry. You can forgive that, as otherwise it would have been a 10 part series for TV. Budgets are tight and we all know that this would never have made it.

    I raise a glass to Ken, we need more like him. A man who reminds us so well how the world can be a better place, rather than just telling us how bad it is. That's really the Angels' Share, after all.
  • My main conclusion after watching The Angel's Share is that I haven't seen enough Ken Loach films.

    Obviously I was interested to see The Angel's Share given the Scottish setting and the little bit of hype that the film has received here through its appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. I wasn't disappointed by any aspect of the movie and would recommend it to anyone.

    The characters are real and the acting is hard to fault. The film strikes a great balance between highlighting the mistakes the main character, Robbie, made in the past and not being overly sympathetic, and at the same time recognising that he deserves a chance to build a better future and put it all behind him. The inclusion of the scene where Robbie is confronted by one of his former victims and the victim's family was inspired.

    All of the performances given are believable, but i'd reserve a special mention for John Henshaw, who plays Harry. There's an almost intangible sadness to the character where you know he's also trying to make up for earlier mistakes in his life, although the film never goes into details. Very understated and poignant in parts.

    Above all, this is a film with heart and has something for everyone.
  • Lejink7 July 2012
    Yesterday was my birthday and this was the film my wife and I decided to go out to watch, even if it seemed almost all the other screens at our 'Plex were showing "Spider Man". I think we made the right choice. It probably helped our enjoyment being from Glasgow enabling us to play "Spot the Location" as you invariably do in these situations and of course our familiarity with not only the "types" portrayed in the film but also their what I'll politely term vocabulary and vernacular.

    What it is at heart is a caper film involving four young offenders who as part of their "community pay-back" sentences get taken under the wing of a good-hearted middle-aged "minder" well played by John Henshaw and learn that they have a penchant for whisky-tasting after a sponsored visit to a distillery. From there, they hatch an unlikely plan to steal for a private collector extracts from a rare cask which takes them up to the islands on an intrepid mini-"Mission Impossible", which after some ups and downs ends happily for all.

    The film displays Ken Loach's by now usual mix of naturalistic realism with everyday settings and improbable plotting with attendant unlikely coincidence along the way. The film starts with a couple of violent scenes to fully convey the tough environment from which the protagonists are seeking a way out but changes into a different film altogether when the four decamp to the Highlands to carry out their ingenious theft. That dichotomy in retrospect seems a little forced at times and the coincidental nature of the plotting which affords them their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity stretches credulity as it settles into almost Ealing-esque territory but it's carried off with some flair and conviction with a nice human touch at the end to send everyone home out of the cinema with a "feel-good" smile on their faces.

    The ensemble acting is as usual with Loach of a high standard. Paul Brannigan as the brains behind the misfits shines but each of the four comes across with their own personality. The dialogue is sharp and up to date with some funny set-pieces thrown in too, particularly those involving the wrong bike and how a recovering junkie slaked his thirst.

    Overall, once you suspend disbelief at the plot development and denouement, this is an easy film to settle down and enjoy. My wife and I certainly did, happy birthday to me!
  • hilarious at the start, a unique storyline, great entertainment throughout the whole film, this film is well worth seeing. Attended the premiere today and loved the film from the start to the finish. The whole film had a fresh feeling about it that is both thought provoking and just pure entertainment. The film shows how difficult it is to break away from a situation you are born into but how, with a little imagination, luck and creativity along with someone who believes in you, some things can change. I you want to go and see a film that doesn't follow a theme covered many times before and want a good laugh then this film is for you. If you want something same old same old then go and see something else.
  • daveyboy-111 January 2014
    'Never judge a book by it's cover' is a line used roughly halfway through this relatively benign recent effort from British directing stalwart Ken Loach. This is a maxim to keep in mind if approaching Angel's Share with the poster's main advertising soundbite 'Scotland's answer to The Full Monty' as a trusted precursor. Like wine or whisky tasting itself, much of a film's effect is to do with the aftertaste, and it is only in the closing third of the film that the aforementioned tagline could bolster a challenge to be relevant at all, as Angel's Share, upon full viewing, provides an awkward mixture of traditional 'Loachian' working-class realism with lovable-rogue, schadenfreude comedy.

    There is much to like and take away from Angel's Share, including great dialogue, brilliant comedy and memorable characters. The problem is that these elements span what feels like two films fighting each other to exist in one, with neither sitting comfortably together or allowing the viewer to solidify a perspective to settle on in terms of their relation to the main characters. It could certainly be argued that this should precisely be the case for the parts of the film which reflect how ambiguously and inconsistently characters in real life can behave, but when Loach suddenly wants to do good on that tagline, all that comes before betrays the impish, happy-go-lucky final third that is well written yet foreboded by scenes not dissimilar from the violence in films like Sweet Sixteen. Imagine some of the generic, heart-warming, feel-good comedy scenes in The Full Monty interspersed with gang beatings and attempted grievous bodily harm and you can imagine the failed dichotomy displayed during Angel's Share.

    This disharmony in tone, however, is pleasingly the only main fault of the film, which can certainly be included as another of Loach's great accomplishments. Taken on a scene-by-scene basis, both the characters and the actors portraying them are addictively watchable, as they blunder and plunder as worst and best they can in the context of their worlds. The theme, born from the meaning of the title itself, is subtly explored and comes wonderfully full circle as that aftertaste at the end is about to kick in. There is honest drama amongst the frivolous escapading, much coming via the standout performance by John Henshaw as the poor guy charged with overseeing the group's community service tasks. It also includes the only known example to me of the use of '(I'm Gonna Be)' 500 Miles by The Proclaimers where the lyrics actually fit the context of the story as opposed to simply occupying a clip because they are Scottish (other stereotypes do exist, however, such as Irn Bru and kilt wearing, though these also exist in logical situations even if they may grate some at the front end).

    Loach's style is never compromised as regards to the way the film is shot, even if it strays in tone come the end of the story. Glasgow is shown rather than shown off, with barely an establishing shot in sight, helping to bring the viewer down to the level at which the characters themselves exist at - drab interiors, hostile alleyways, rundown tenement areas, etc. It is when the group set off on their daring 'heist' that the beautiful shots of the Highlands offer a sensible contrast as a visual metaphor - the job at hand providing faint hope of starting afresh (even though it is still a crime they are intending to commit). An awful, almost ten-minute tour of the whiskey distillery makes you feel like you've wandered into the filming of a tour itself rather than still watching a film, but is subsequently saved by the attempted pilfering of the 'Holy Grail' of whiskies - perfectly paced and ramped up with tension. In fact the crux of the story is so well crafted it almost makes you forget how little reason you should have to root for the success of the group's plan in the first place.

    Intentionally ambiguous yet jarringly inconsistent, Angel's Share succeeds in delivering an entertaining and memorable mixture of comedy and drama. Just ignore that tagline, and watch out for the aftertaste . . .
  • Ken Loach does funny! Ken Loach does bleakness, misery, sorrow and hopelessness, too, but in The Angels' Share it is present only to serve the plot and not for characters or viewers to wallow in. The second in my unexpected eight-star double bill after Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Angels' Share is a delightfully engaging story of Scottish desperation and resolve to escape the vortex into the plughole of doom.

    I watched it in an Inverness cinema surrounded by Scots who loved every reference, in-joke and scenic delight and I benefited hugely for it. Jump on a plane and do likewise. Or at least find a quiet cinema devoid of morons who bore easily if there are no explosions and settle into your seat a colourful trek through claustrophobic, violent council estates to the sprawling, peaceful Highland vistas.

    Robbie (Paul Brannigan) narrowly escapes a long prison sentence for yet another violent attack that has left an innocent victim's life in tatters. He remains free thanks to the work of his persuasive barrister and the small matter of the impending birth of his first baby. It isn't a hero's escape. He's an unpleasant creature who has fallen into a habit of violence and crime, the kind of person you strive to avoid and write off as one of life's hopeless failures.

    Fortunately, not everyone thinks this way, least of all Loach. Leonie (Siobhan Reilly), the expectant mother, is a gentle but strong and resolute force in Robbie's life and she supports him, loves him and makes it very clear that she won't take any more of his crap. Either he sorts his life out or he'll lose her and the baby for good. The second great impact on Robbie's life comes in the form of Harry (the always watchable John Henshaw), the man in charge of his community service group. A gentle, caring soul, who is quite possibly alone in the world but for his charges, he could easily be a doormat for the group of young criminals but instead they respect him because he, in turn, respects them. Harry sees potential in Robbie and introduces him and the group to the world of whisky; not drunken swigs from a bottle in a brown paper bag but of touring distilleries, tasting, appreciating and understanding quality single malts and the joy of experiencing the finest of them.

    And that leads to a plan… The Angels' Share is a strange combination of Trainspotting, any number of 'one last job' capes and Whisky Galore! that confounds the myriad risks of failure. It could so easily be unpleasant because of the characters depicted but they evolve and so we care about them; it could be insensitive by diluting the violent crimes they have committed but Loach never uses that brush to paint a more palatable picture; it could be predictably upbeat and feel-good but the gritty reality of what they are trying to escape is never far away and they uncertainty of whether they will succeed or fall straight back into it is ever present.

    There is an impression of non-actors in the cast at times and occasionally it jars but it is easily forgivable because of the setting, the circumstances and the camaraderie they share. The scripting is a rally track through lanes of vicious language and actions, one-liners and jaw-droppingly funny comments and some brutal honesty that is both tough and caring. Oh, and there's one gross-out moment that had most of the audience gagging and laughing simultaneously.

    The Angels' Share isn't a film for those who easily squirm at ripe language but it is an uplifting story of scoundrels who become rascals and just may find redemption. The big screen certainly accentuates the occasional stunning, rugged scenery but this is a film that you'll appreciate just as much in the seclusion of your own living room if you can't find a screen near you playing it.

    If you're easily put off by the aura of 'worthy' Ken Loach then shame on you. This is easily his most accessible film yet and a great place to start if you're a Loach novice. And a knowledge of or taste for whisky is unimportant although after watching The Angels' Share I wish I could both stomach and appreciate a wee dram.

    Watch it! For more reviews from The Squiss subscribe to my blog at www.thesquiss.co.uk
  • The Angels' Share is the first Ken Loach film I have ever seen, and I really liked it. I heard a lot about Ken Loach films before I saw The Angels' Share but I never had time to see one. I must say he is a talented director. I was impressed by the choice of actors, which is very judicious. I would compliment all the actors and I would reserve a special mention for Paul Brannigan, the main character. The acting is so realistic that the film seems like a real documentary about Scots'lives. The characters are friendly, and endearing. We can see a lot of beautiful Scottish landscapes during the whole film, and this is really pleasant. Ken Loach made an original storyline, and his film allows everybody to have a great time. It is a sweet comedy, hilarious sometimes, but mainly poignant. The film speaks with heart, humor and lightness about the social realism of delinquents. It shows that everyone deserves a second chance in life, even if it is very hard to get out of a situation you were born in. Ken Loach knows how to put a strong message in simple words. The Angels' Share is a good film, which is food for though. I was interested in watching it thanks to his participation at the Cannes Film Festival, and I was not disappointed by any aspect of the film. If I were you, I would go quickly to the cinema to see it. I would recommend it to anyone.
  • Another terrific film from the master of the kitchen sink, Ken Loach. Like all of Loach's films, Angels' Share takes a look at the judicial system and how the mistreatment of criminals effects their lives. In the case of Robbie, our protagonist, the poor decision by the courts – coupled with his girlfriend and their newborn baby – has a profound effect on his life as he begins to put his juvenile past behind him… that is until his community service officer instills a newfound interest in whiskey. These events lead up to a pivotal heist scene that plays out like something from the French new wave with a hint of British. Loach's direction has definitely adapted with the times but his adaptation of long-time collaborator Paul Laverty's screenplay is as poignant as it always is when the two collaborate. Undeniably better than last year's Route Irish – which was a very rare look into the Iraq war – and definitely worth the watch.

    http://destroyallcinema.wordpress.com/
  • rebecca-ry19 October 2012
    'The Angels Share' is the latest film by Ken Loach about living on the rough side of Glasgow, Scotland and trying to cope with your past. It's a delightful little film that's really funny as well as portraying a lot of dark aspects about modern Scottish lifestyles.

    The acting is surprisingly great; there are no real known actors in this besides John Henshaw who was fantastic despite not having a lot of screen-time. New-comers like Paul Brannigan are excellent and really carry this film. The performances of those main four characters are all done well, particularly Gary Maitland.

    The script is quite interesting and has a great Scottish theme to it. The dialogue is fantastic, the conversations in this film seem so real and the colloquialisms provide so much humour for Scottish audiences. There have been few Scottish films lately that seem like a real Scottish film. The film also discusses a lot of other important issues i.e. alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty, violence and gang culture. It paints a picture of some people's lives in Glasgow.

    Overall, this is a feel-good film which does discuss a lot of important, dark Scottish issues. It also has some great comedy included and fantastic dialogue making this film one of the best British films of 2012.
  • hjart631 December 2012
    Having enjoyed Ken Loach's last film, Looking For Eric, I suddenly discovered he had a new movie out. So off to the theater I went. The movie starts off with a quick introduction to sociology while sentencing the protagonist, Robbie, to a few hundred hours of community service. Social issues is a recurring theme of the movie as it delves into the reasons of why people get themselves into a bad place, which again stems from a bad environment (which is literally spelled out). Ken Loach uses the same approach as in Looking For Eric, and many of the same plot elements are present as Robbie and his cohorts hatch out a devious plan to deal with their situation. Most familiar is the protagonist's struggle to set himself straight, but also in how he is trying to protect and salvage his family. Angel's Share starts off like a good movie; we get to know the characters, there's an involving plot, and overall I was starting to like it. I found it easy to sympathize with the main character, despite his conflicted personality.

    But then the movie starts to falter. The plot with the whiskey distillery falls short as the director takes the film in a most peculiar direction. I started to realize that I liked none of the supporting characters, which are only mildly interesting due to the fact that they almost have no character and bring nothing interesting to the film (except a few good laughs). By the end I was just waiting for something to happen, and it didn't. The plot resolves itself in the most uninteresting manner and the jokes have long lost their steam and the film was simply running on an empty tank. To his credit, Ken Loach does deserve some praise for trying to make a relatable feel-good movie.
  • The Angels' Share (2012)

    A deceptively simple movie that builds slowly and is mixture of outrageous fun and touching social commentary.

    The main young man, Robbie (Paul Brannigan), has been convicted of a violent crime and is trying to get his life together. His girlfriend is about to have his baby, his old rival is out to get him, and he can't get a job. He also has to do community service, which leads him to the main plot—a growing love of whiskey, a gift with his nose, and an eventual plot to steal some of the rarest of the liquid.

    It's this last part that dominates the second half of the movie, and it's fun, for sure, but also a little contrived compared to the first half which has a gritty realism to it. Brannigan, and all his supporting actors, is really good. If you don't know Scottish movies, be prepared for some major swearing by everyone. And the Netflix version of the movie has the subtitles on because the accent makes a lot of the movie hard to hear. (I think you'd be better off without them, however, and just get most of it without the distraction of reading.)

    You might be able to read into the serious parts of the movie and see a valid commentary about the strength of community service, and about the rough life on the streets of Glasgow. But this is more the hard nails backdrop to make the clever, and rather fun (almost joyous) secondary plot shine brighter. It works. The movie pulls it together seamlessly (maybe a hair too seamlessly by the end, as you'll see).

    So, yes, an enjoyable surprise.
  • Robbie, a young man on a community payback scheme trying to turn his life around for the sake of his newborn son, comes up with a plan to give him a financial head start. He recruits his fellow offenders to his caper.

    The Glasgow-set collaborations of Ken Loach and Paul Laverty always sit somewhere on a spectrum that runs between socialist realist politics and crowd-pleasing mischief. This outing sits more towards the crowd-pleasing end. As such, the young protagonist's underclass credentials are evidenced merely by his scars, tracksuit and chest-puffing in the face of his adversaries. His partner only ever speaks to him about pulling up his socks for their child; stilted, clunky exchanges that supply information and do nothing for characterisation. The young woman's thuggish family are cardboard cut-out neds who speak in clichés. So, characterisation is simplistic and dialogue always pure exposition. However, anyone looking for some pay off in the plot will be sorely disappointed. It is pretty obvious from the beginning how things will play out, with the exception of one genuinely surprising, and humanistic, twist. At one point Robbie is being chased by bad guys when his father-in-law incredulously appears like Batman in his Nedmobile to rescue him, before snarling more ned clichés at him.

    Paul Brannigan as Robbie has a certain look and charisma, but he can't act. The young actor's story, in many respects paralleling the character he plays, is touching, and perhaps Loach and Laverty are using cinema to smuggle in some kind of social rehabilitation programme for worthy but underprivileged young men. But one part of me wishes they'd use real actors, or at least send their discoveries to acting school before filming starts.

    As someone who grew up in inner-city Glasgow I always feel I *should* like these Loach/Laverty films, and wonder if my conflicted emotions come from the part of me that is Glasgow. But 'The Angel's Share' has made up my mind for me - these films are just below-par cinema. I get that the script is meant to be a fable, but not one line of dialogue stayed with me, or resonated to a deeper place. The characters, like those in 'My Name is Joe', are all meant to be lovable rapscallions, but the visceral violence that can be a very real event in Glasgow is not represented here, and the truly pitiful aspects of these young men's pathetic and self-destructive delusions about 'masculinity' require a complexity of portrayal that seems beyond these filmmakers. There is a psychology and dialectic at work that defies easy ideological explanation, but that ease is all Loach and Laverty ever reach for. Loach's so-called naturalistic directing is simply workmanlike camera-work that fails to add shade or depth to character. I can't think of one shot in this film that struck me as cinematic.

    I applaud the good intentions of Loach and Laverty, but their execution is sorely lacking. I think the praise they garner comes more from the middle class guilt of broadsheet critics, and the desperate relief of disenfranchised Glaswegians at ANY attempt at all to portray their lives on screen. Wooden acting, under-realised framing, and a flat, under-developed script - apart from a few chuckles at comments by dim-witted characters, what exactly is there to like here? What is this film doing that was not done by Bill Forsyth 30 years ago, only ten times better? These filmmakers need to be judged by the same standards that apply to the likes of Kevin Macdonald, Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan. Glasgow is a great city that lends itself to cinema, and its people have a myriad of human tales to tell. It is a potential criminally untapped by Loach and Laverty.
  • The first part of this film was to me something that had never been seen before in cinema. We were drawn into the violent world of the Glasgow street thug. We saw the drugs, the mindless violence, the broken lives of the victims and the perpetrators. We saw the destitution of the young people in the worst parts of the city, those without any hope of a future, whose only recourse was to a life of drugs and crime. We saw that a self-centred, uncaring society itself had played a large part in forming these young people and had them under its heel, where there was no escape. We saw the young thug facing his victim and his family in some sort of meeting, as he recounted the terrible frenzied attack where he thought he was going to die. We saw the effect it had on the victim's family. And most touchingly we saw the deep remorse on the thug's face as the victim's mother remonstrated with him about the heartbreak he had created in a moment of madness, and he thought about his own newborn son. And we looked at the broken lives on both sides of the table. I wouldn't have thought it possible to be so moved to compassion over a hood's life until I saw this film. Then there was the friendship and help offered to him by strangers as he tries to reform now he is a father. It would have been wonderful to see this life lifting itself out of the morass of crime and violence into a world of decency. It can and does happen, and what a wonderful heartwarming tale this would have been if that had been the destination of the movie. Such an idea should not be seen as a fairy tale and discarded in favour of 'realism'. We could have seen redemption (it does say it's there on the jacket), we could have seen reconciliation, we could have seen hope. To me the film slipped steadily after the opening scenes and the consummation of the story seems to be 'crime can pay - just be enterprising'. Or 'just one more heist, and then we're through'. Really? The screenplay, acting and direction were brilliant.
  • christophe923008 November 2012
    Every Ken Loach movie strikes by its accuracy and social realism, same goes for "The Angels' Share".

    The movie is pleasant and endearing overall. The script relies on a pretty good mix between drama and comedy with well written dialogues. However, the story is in fact quite linear in its unfolding with a few overlong passages, clearly lacking depth and substance. Also, the characters are a bit shallow and under-developed, but still touching and one can easily feel sympathy towards them.

    Last thing: the cast is outstanding and accurate in their performances, as usual with Loach.
  • lasttimeisaw19 February 2013
    It has been only my second Ken Loach's film I've seen so far (after his Palme d'Or winner THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY 2006, 7/10), and I'm in no place to expound how different it is from his (usually) politically-sensitive drama pieces, but one sure thing is this time the tonal shift is too prominent to ignore, an uplifting comedy vibrates with youthful restlessness and intersperses with vulgar but rib-tickling gags (inclusively transmitted by the f-words spouting Gary Maitland), the pertinent caricature on the snobbery of pursuing the exorbitant the-best-whiskey-in-the-world (Americans will not be pleased in this paragraph); and what's more precious is that it implements a magnificent positive message to encourage people in misery to seek their own subjective alternative to break out the status quo, which could evoke a universal empathy all over the map.

    Started with a violent and bleak milieu, Robbie is a young petty criminal who becomes a father for the first time, after narrowly getting away from jail time, he is serving the community service order, the first half of the film is dispatched with many grim gambits with the opponents' retaliative assault, the point-blank confrontation between him and the victim's whole family, the tension between him and his girlfriend and insults from his girlfriend's father. Everyone deserves a second chance, and Robbie knows it may be his last one, after befriends with the community service officer who is a wine epicure, Robbie sees the light of his life from the newly-discovered barrel of an out-of-the-world whiskey, he details a bold plan which may rescue him and his friends from poverty and desperation. From that point, the film leans on a bit rosier rhythm to unravel Robbie's ruse with laughters, suspense and accidents (also kilts) abound.

    First-time actor Paul Brannigan is quite instrumental in depicting Robbie's unassuming wit, at first, he has a shadowy look with the scar on the face signposts his rebellious nature, the first impression has gradually altered halfway through, when audience realize what is in his mind, the anticipation rockets high and Ken Loach doesn't cringe at simplifying the heist to an even unrealistic scenario (not one single sentinel to guard the million-pounds-baby?), at the core of a refreshing salvation comedy, it is swiftly done, efficient and brisk. 8 out of 10 may be a bit overrated, but I believe one should always have mercy towards comedy genre (especially now, a brilliant one is like gold dust), with Ken Loach at the helm, it would be more reverent!
  • cerberusjf15 October 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    In all my life, I never imagined a film's highlight could be a song by the Proclaimers of all people, a band I hate.

    This film is the most boring, clichéd, unlikeable film I have ever seen. To begin with, the characters are all unpleasant, without exception. Only the main protagonist is more than one dimensional, but is a violent thug who has had a Damascene conversion because he becomes a father and completely unsympathetic. The rest of the characters are little more than circus clowns and rather poor ones at that. There is plenty of violence, swearing and Irn bru, but little in the way of plot, engaging characters or narrative arc.

    I can't believe this film was made and has made me revise my opinion of Ken Loach. Absolutely awful!
  • The movie starts out pretty slowly and doesn't really pick up pace before the friends come up with a risky plan to get rich, without spoiling more of the story, that's all I will mention about that.

    The story told in "The Angels' Share" is about a group of young delinquents who are taken to a whiskey distillery where they concoct a plan that will make them rich.

    For a comedy then there was surprisingly little to laugh about throughout the course of the movie, which was a shame because it would have spruced up the movie.

    What worked in "The Angels' Share" was the cast, because they had managed to get some nicely talented actors and actresses. And it was nice to watch a movie with all new faces. There was a good chemistry amongst those on the screen. Another thing that worked well was the colorful and likable characters in the story.

    I loathe whiskey, so the whole aspect of it being a grand thing with the rare whiskey was lost on me. it all take like charred wood to me.

    For me, this movie was a mediocre experience, given the lack of comedy, and thus I score it five out of ten stars.
  • Set in contemporary Glasgow, THE ANGELS' SHARE does not shy away from portraying the squalid reality of many young peoples' lives. Robbie (Paul Brannigan) has to complete long hours of community service, together with his friends Rhino (William Ruane), Albert (Gary Maitland) and Mo (Jasmin Riggins), while having to cope with the perpetual threat of attack from long-time adversary Clancy (Scott Kyle). However Robbie's 'minder' Harry (John Henshaw), who supervises him on his community service, introduces Robbie to the intricacies of scotch whisky, and Robbie's life is transformed as a result. In an attempt to improve his life, he becomes involved in an elaborate plot to steal an exceptionally rare brand of Scotch from a Highland distillery. While Paul Laverty's screenplay does not shy away from the seamier sides of Glasgow life, it nonetheless suggests that people can be redeemed, so long as they are provided with moral as well as emotional support. Harry seems an unlikely figure in this respect, but his basic honesty stands out in a film full of shady characters. The four youngsters (Robbie and his friends) are totally convincing in their roles - so much so that we share their pleasure when their scheme eventually succeeds and they can look forward to a better life, however transient that might be.
  • If you have seen the trailer for his film you'll be thinking you are about to see a light-hearted romp across Scotland by a group of amusingly accented rascals.

    Ten minutes into it, though, you might be thinking, "Hang on, this is neither light-hearted or a romp, and not only are these people undeniably Scottish, they've invented a secret language constructed entirely of spitting and clucking!"

    Such a response would be understandable. What kind of trickery has occurred? Well, while you watched the opening credits, did you see a name like Ken Loach? Ah ha! Yes, good old Ken Loach, a man famous for his many films heavy on his version of realism and working class idolisation. Viewed as a sneak peek into the motivations and struggles of an oppressed Scottish underclass, the conundrums and conclusions this film create do not ring entirely true. What kind of "Angel's Share" is he talking about now? Politics is notoriously boring to watch, and neutered politics is plain ridiculous. But never mind, some of the rompy light-hearted story that comes later is entertaining, until it becomes sickly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really enjoyed that movie I like Paul Brannigan that he was absolutely fantastic and thatWas absolutely hilarious as well it's an absolutely fantastic Scottish film that has lots of good Scottish humour asweel it's good I give that film 5 stars
  • A satisfying story which takes you through many ups and downs before the heartwarming ending.

    Well cast and produced but I have to admit that I struggled with some of the Glaswegian accents. Glad I saw it and would watch again.
  • I saw this in the cinema when it fist came out.... and just watched again. Forgot how incredible a film it is.... proud of this scottish art! Really special wee gem! If you watch it you wont be dissapointed.
  • bevo-1367812 June 2020
    10/10
    Yum
    I like the bit with all the whisky at the distillery
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I found this movie as I was working on social realism. I had to prepare a presentation about one of Ken Loach's movie and I choose that one. At the first time I wasn't very excited about watching it. The script doesn't really interest me: Robbie, a former inmate will soon become a father when he is compelled to many hours of general interest. Generally I rather like watching funny movies and this one doesn't sound like one of them. But I was wrong about all of it ! I truly love that movie ! I became rapidly attached to the characters especially Robbie. I think Robbie is a perfect role for Paul Banningan. This character has touched me through his desire to get out of his pitiful life for his son and his wife despite his past that pursues him. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bit of humor in such a gloomy context. The looser band that accompanies Robbie in his "redemption" makes us laugh throughout the movie for our greatest pleasure. I also caught myself admiring Harry's patience and pedagogy towards his students. This whiskey lover is a real mentor to Robbie and their relationship is really touching.

    If I had to speak about technical aspects of the film (even if I'm not a specialist) I would say that the rhythm is really fast. In one hand that's a good thing 'cause it keeps the viewer in suspense. On the other hand, in my opinion, this poses a problem in terms of credibility: Robbie who visited only one distillery in his life is spotted by a long-time whiskey lover during his first tasting. Also how to explain that he can steal an overpriced malt milt without any difficulties? Always in the more technical aspects, I liked the Scottish setting in which the movie was shot and how Kenn Loach put the landscapes in the spotlight. When Harry leads the group to the distillery, when they are going for the first time to a tasting in Edimburg, or when Robbie, Rhino, Albert and Mo travelled to the Malt Milt distillery in all those specifics scene and though all the movie we can admire Scottish landscapes. However, one of the difficulty was the language. Sometimes it was difficult to distinctly understand what the characters were saying. This is maybe not a main difficulty for Scottish or British people but I think it could be really hard for foreign people.

    To conclude, this movie was a great discovery for me. I would recommend everyone to see this masterpiece of Ken Loach once in their life. In addition to having a good time, you will discover all the technicality of whiskeys fabrication and the magnificent landscapes of Scotland
  • 'The Angels' Share' sees Ken Loach and screen writing partner Paul Laverty in relatively lighthearted mode: as usual with Loach, there's a sympathetic description of the plight of the urban poor, but there's also a cock-and-bull story about a money-making escapade, plus an extended plug for the Scotch whiskey industry. It's amiable and funny, but in places it feels formulaic: Loach is a gifted director at portraying everyday life, but his work with Laverty tends to follow a predictable template, and in this film, which lacks the rawest edges of his best work, this is a little too obviously exposed. Unusual too is the apparent sympathy for men so rich they could spend a million pounds on a cask of peaty alcohol.
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